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Eight Questions About the Next Season of ‘Succession’

Who will be the next CEO? Are the Con-heads going to lose their leader? And what’s going on with Hearts?

HBO/Ringer illustration

The second season of Succession was, in Tom Wambsgans parlance, a closed-loop system. As it began with Kendall Roy addressing the media on Logan’s behalf, so it ended—except this time, the number one boy used the platform to stab his father in the back. And in between the two press conferences, a lot of memorable stuff happened this season—the death of Vaulter, Boar on the Floor, and “L to the OG,” to name a few—but what transpired right before the closing credits trumps everything. The king is (theoretically, metaphorically) dead. And now everyone will be jockeying for power to sit atop an empire as structurally sound as Willa’s Broadway production. (Sands is a masterpiece misunderstood in its time!)

This is the closest Succession can get to blowing itself up without throwing Logan into an actual coffin. I don’t have the faintest idea of what, exactly, will happen in Season 3—only that shit is gonna go down, and this dank content needs to arrive ASAP. In the meantime, let’s kick off our boat shoes and marinate over the eight most pressing questions we need Succession to address in 2020.

Who’s the new CEO?

Rhea Jarrell has already stepped down after the revelation of the tumultuous cruise line scandal, and Logan’s biggest obstacle heading into next season is avoiding prison time after Kendall’s mic drop. The Waystar throne, in other words, looks entirely up for grabs—and it seems every Roy sibling and company subordinate is invested in the outcome. Roman was tapped as sole chief operating officer by Logan before Kendall went rogue; combine that clout with his psychosexual alliance with Gerri and the Rock Star and the Mole Woman start to look like a formidable contender for the throne.

And if the first two seasons of Succession focused on Kendall and Shiv, respectively, it stands to reason that next year becomes the Season of Roman. (For what it’s worth, this theory’s got the Kieran Culkin stamp of approval.) The thing is, should anyone even want the CEO gig right now? The shareholder meeting is imminent, and the board may prefer Stewy and Sandy over the Roys and their perpetual back-stabbing. Along with the cruise line fiasco still hanging over the company’s head, taking over Waystar is—sorry for the maritime pun—not unlike a captain going down with his ship.

Can Logan retaliate against Kendall?

In the final shot of the season, Logan sports a beguiling smirk as he watches his son toss all the corporate malfeasance in his lap. One read of the scene I’ve seen on Twitter is that Logan is smiling because he and Kendall were in cahoots the whole time—what seems more likely, however, is that Logan is proud of his son for actually having a “killer” instinct. Logan can love Kendall only when he’s broken, and can be impressed only when his son is trying to destroy him, lest we needed any more reminding than the Roys are a super-messed-up family.

But just because Logan’s awed by Kendall’s rebellion doesn’t mean he’ll stand idly by and eat shit. This is Logan Roy, after all—a guy who made his son-in-law grovel and oink on the ground for a sausage link. Were Logan to exact revenge on Kendall, there’s an obvious place he can start: exposing his role in the young waiter’s death from the Season 1 finale. Kendall is still wracked with guilt over the incident, and if Logan made his son’s manslaughter public knowledge, Kendall could face his own legal repercussions. At the very least, that would ensure that Kendall would be too toxic to take over the company—though after all the psychological abuse, existential dread, and stolen vape fluid from bodegas, he should really just use that as an excuse to fuck off forever in the Mediterranean.

Who else could face legal ramifications?

Kendall’s press conference attacking Logan wasn’t just an empty threat. The dude’s got the receipts, thanks to some Greg sprinkles. It’s not clear when Cousin Greg confessed to Kendall that he kept a handful of cruise line documents, but this budding bromance, molded by shitty park cocaine, ought to leave Tom shook. The man whom The Atlantic described during the congressional hearing as a “smirking block of domestic feta,” could still face some consequences.

Whatever is on the documents would likely also implicate Tom, seeing that he was in charge of the cruise line and ordered Greg to shred the rest of the evidence. Since Kendall said in his press conference (truthfully) that his father knew everything about the cruise line cover-up, it will be that much harder for Waystar subordinates to claim they didn’t know a thing—especially the guy overseeing the whole damn division. But if a prison cell is really in Tom’s future, at least he got to eat his father-in-law’s chicken like a modern-day Daniel Plainview first.

Does Roman finally have his shit together?

Roman returned from Turkey with a renewed sense of maturity. He gave a level-headed analysis to his dad about going private with an injection of Azerbaijani money—simply put, it’s too risky an investment to gamble the company’s future on—and even asked Shiv and Kendall whether they could talk “normally” about things going forward. (Naturally, their impulse is to make fun of Roman because everybody in this family is irreparably damaged and incapable of real intimacy.)

We’ve come a long way from the days of Roman’s overseeing a rocket explosion and jerking off in his corner office. (Well, he still jerks off, but only at Gerri’s behest.) He seems to have really matured! And all it took was … being trapped in a life-threatening military coup that gave Karl a panic attack. Logan and Rhea both surmised that Roman would make a good CEO once he got his shit together. I never really understood their perspective. The Roman of the Season 2 finale, however, is a different and much more promising candidate, if this sort of behavior is what we can expect from the character next season.

Did Hearts win the Scottish Premiership?

Eduard assured us he was going to get some dope players on loan to help his newly purchased soccer club qualify for the Champions League. Since I’ve been alive, the Scottish powerhouses have traditionally been Celtic and Rangers—Hearts would need a lot of help to get over the hump, let alone contend with the giants from other European leagues they could face in the Champions League.

Oh, I’m sorry, do you not care about the Scottish Premiership and the Champions League? Fuck off, then! Personally, I need to know who was loaned to Hearts, the tactics implemented by the manager (Eduard definitely has a hard-on for inverted wingers), how much the club invested in modern analytics, and the final Scottish Prem standings. I expect the Hearts subplot to continue next season. I will not rest until Roman and Eduard are bribing officials and trying to create a European Super League. Go Hearts!

Can Shiv and Tom’s marriage be salvaged?

HBO

(Even if they don’t formally file for divorce, um, no.)

Where the hell is Marcia?

“When I am with someone, I am with them,” Marcia told Logan during the sixth episode of the season, “Argestes.” The inverse appears to be true, as a Rhea Jarrell–induced fissure in their marriage has led her to spend a lot of time mysteriously off screen. Marcia’s motives have never been very clear—whether she was helping Logan recover from his health scare last season because she loves her husband or has ulterior motives is among Succession’s enduring mysteries. (She also said she’d need ample time to explain her life’s story, but at this point we’d settle for a two-minute anecdote!)

Will Marcia go back to Logan’s side now that he’s suffered a devastating blow? Will she ally herself with one of his kids, instead? Will she try to leech some of the Roy fortune for herself? I couldn’t say what Marcia’s going to do—only that I’d like to see a lot more of her next season. If nothing else, it’s gotta mean something that she also knows about Kendall’s manslaughter, which she could dangle in front of Logan, Kendall, or both.

Is Connor still running for president?

Willa’s play is a mere sand mite in a desert of aesthetically and culturally significant Broadway productions, Connor is broke, and Logan will loan him a casual $100 million only if his son finally cancels his batshit presidential bid. Connor would’ve had to accept Logan’s terms eventually—or, I suppose, turn a profit off the resale of Napoleon’s shriveled penis—but Kendall’s press conference would ostensibly put all of these developments on hold. Logan has much bigger fish to fry than handing out even more money to his biggest failson.

It’s a very confusing and—if you sit in the front of Willa’s play—itchy affair. We need a balm and, more importantly, some Connor clarity. The Con-heads need answers!

Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.